One of the favorite topics of discussion in my online women’s fitness training group is obstacles to exercise and healthy eating. It seems like one of us is always struggling with making healthy choices in the face of circumstances, seemingly out of our control.
Common roadblocks to consistently following an exercise routine and sensible meal plan include (but aren’t limit to…);
- travel (it’s so hard to take time away from family and friends to exercise when I’m on holiday)
- special events (I can’t say no to cake and wine at my best friend’s birthday party)
- hormonal and time-of-the-month cravings (during my period I want to eat All. The. Chocolate.)
- lack of support from family and friends (my saboteur husband undermines my resolve by constantly ordering pizza and bringing chips and dip home from the grocery store)
- poor sleep or low energy (the dog was sick and kept me up half the night, I can’t possibly get to the gym today)
The underlying theme being that, anything other than our normal, well-controlled environment tends to result in going off-plan.
The thing is, only rarely are we ever in that ‘normal, well-controlled’ environment.
I don’t know about you, but my life is one big variety show/circus.
Each week is different from the last, presenting it’s own unique set of challenges to stay true to my fitness routines and goals.
It seems to me that rather than creating structure around exercise and nutrition, we really need to learn the dual arts of adaptability and resiliency.
Adaptability is the art of making due with what you have. No access to the gym? Head to the playground. Cable and pulley machine taken? Sub out a similar exercise that only requires dumbbells. Only burgers and fries on the menu? Go ‘bun’-less and ask for extra carrot sticks.
Resiliency is the ability to rebound quickly after a set-back. Beer and chips and s’mores at the weekend’s Cub camp? Eggs and veggies for breakfast on Monday. Back from an ‘exercise-free’ holiday? Schedule your workouts for the next two weeks as soon as you’re back.
There will always be obstacles to navigate. The trick is to remember the end game.
And to remind ourselves that no one can force us to do something we don’t want to do.
In the words of a very wise friend (and member of my online training community);
In the end, the only one who controls my destiny is me
This week, I challenge you to recall these words whenever you find yourself facing an obstacle to exercise or healthy eating.